Uruguay holds last practice before taking on Chile in Copa America
Uruguayan defender Diego Godin (C) practices at Fluminense's training complex in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on June 23, 2019. EPA-EFE/Antonio Lacerda
Uruguay's players practice at Fluminense's training complex in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on June 23, 2019. EPA-EFE/Antonio Lacerda
Uruguay forward Luis Suarez (C) practices at Fluminense's training complex in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on June 23, 2019. EPA-EFE/Antonio Lacerda
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jun 23 (efe-epa).- Uruguay is holding its last practice session on Sunday before taking on Chile in a match that will determine who grabs first place in the Copa America's Group C.
Coach Oscar Washington Tabarez's team will play Chile on Monday at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
Tabarez oversaw his squad's practice at Brazilian First-Division club Fluminense's training complex in Rio's Barra de Tijuca district instead of at Maracana, where his team had the option of practicing after the traditional walk through.
Fluminense's training complex is closer to the team hotel, allowing the coach to have practice in the morning and give his players some rest in the afternoon.
Tabarez's squad also enjoyed more privacy at the Fluminense complex than it would have at Maracana.
Star striker Luis Suarez practiced with a protective glove over his injured left hand, which is swollen.
Team physician Alberto Pan said it was necessary to protect Suarez's hand to prevent pain, adding that the star striker would be available to play on Monday.
During the 15 minutes that reporters were allowed to watch the practice session, players did stretching exercises and sprinted, making it impossible to tell whether Tabarez had some new formations planned for the match against Chile at Maracana.
Tabarez has not yet announced who the replacements will be for two injured starters.
Uruguay, which is the all-time leader with 15 Copa America titles, will be without midfielder Matias Vecino, who was injured in the 4-0 win over Ecuador.
Left back Diego Laxalt was injured in the team's 2-2 tie against Japan on Thursday.
Doctors said Laxalt will likely be out of action for 10-14 days, giving the team hope that he might be back for the semifinals or final if they make it all they way there.
Tabarez initially went with Lucas Torreira, who plays for the English Premier League's Arsenal, as the replacement for Vecino against Japan, but Federico Valverde took over in the second half and proved more effective against the Asian squad.
When Laxalt went down in the first half, Tabarez put right back Giovani Gonzalez in the match, but he had to move Martin Cáceres to left back.
Tabarez has not said whether Gonzalez will stay in the lineup or if Marcelo Saracchi, a natural substitute for Laxalt at left back, will get a shot to play.
Uruguay has now had two practice sessions in Rio de Janeiro since arriving in Brazil's most iconic city on Friday night from Porto Alegre, where the squad played Japan in what turned out to be a disappointing match that ended in a tie.
On Saturday morning, Uruguay had a closed door training session in Rio.
Chile, which has qualified for the quarterfinals, will be out on Monday to take the lead in Group C.
Uruguay, for its part, needs at least one tie to advance to the quarters of the Copa America.
After two rounds of play, Chile sits atop Group C, with six points and two victories, while Uruguay is in second place, with four points.
Japan has one point and sits in third place, while Ecuador occupies last place and has no points.